Canadian County needs nine new polling places

More precincts will be added due to population growth, redistricting

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Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

As they prepare for a busy 2022, Canadian County election officials hope by next week to finalize revised voting precinct lines.

Nine more polling sites will be needed as the Canadian County Election Board prepares to implement the new boundaries.

Canadian County now has 50 voting precincts in 44 polling places.

That will increase to 59 precincts in 53 places starting with the June 28, 2022 primary election.

Nine buildings to house those new precincts are needed so voters can cast their ballots, Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said.

Each polling place should be within that precinct’s boundaries. They must be handicapped accessible and well lighted.

Most existing Canadian County polling places are inside churches. Others are in community centers, a town hall, fire station, fine arts auditorium, and a car dealership.

Besides opening nine new polling locations, the Canadian County Election Board will need to hire more election workers for those precincts.

“We will be looking for at least 45 more precinct officials to work the elections June 28, Aug. 23 and Nov. 8,” Armold said.

“By law, they must attend training workshops every two years.”

Each polling site must have an inspector, judge and clerk. Armold tries to have extra workers for larger county precincts.

Canadian County Election Board staff on Dec. 6 received a proposed precinct map from the Center for Spatial Analysis (CSA) at the University of Oklahoma.

“We met with CSA early Thursday morning (Dec. 2) and went over all the precinct boundary lines that would fit into the existing lines and tried to separate out the population where it would be a ‘livable’ experience for conducting an election,” Armold told Canadian County Commissioners at their Dec. 6th meeting.

Before becoming official, the new precinct boundaries must be approved by the Canadian County Election Board. A meeting is tentatively set for Dec. 15.

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89,735 VOTERS

Canadian County voter registration has grown by about 50% over the past 10 years.

As of Dec. 1, there were 89,735 registered voters in Canadian County. The county had about 60,000 registered voters after the 2010 census.

Here is the voter registration breakdown by political party:

  • Republican – 54,242
  • Democrat – 19,325
  • Independent – 15,273
  • Libertarian – 895

This voter registration growth mirrors Canadian County’s population increase. The 2020 U.S. Census data shows the population has jumped from 115,541 to 154,405 (33.6%) over the past decade.

Both Canadian County Commissioners and the Oklahoma Legislature recently approved their new district lines, which are redrawn after every 10 years based on the federal decennial census.

The Canadian County elections’ chief worked with staff at both the Oklahoma State Legislature and CSA to resolve one issue after this redistricting process.

There would have been three precincts with 0 voters because of the way the new county and state district lines fell. The election board was faced with having to open those precincts for each election and report the results, even though no votes would be cast.

But this problem has been resolved with the newly proposed Canadian County voting precinct map.

Annual school and municipal elections will be next February and April using the existing precincts.

The new precinct boundaries will become official between the April 5 election and the April 13-15 filing period for county and state offices.